While this event was super in fact super cool, let’s get to it right off the back that the “Olympics” moniker is a bit of a stretch.
Some people had never even played these games before. So, if you think this was a wildly intense competition, get that out of your head.
So, what is the Junior Blind Olympics?
Well, it’s not anything sanctioned by any official Olympic body. That’s just the name they use. It’s an event for blind and visually impaired people 6-19 years old from, from various states, experiencing different fun athletic (or semi-athletic) events. I say semi-athletic because in addition to sports, there were picnic games and such.
There were plenty of events to participate in – archery, golf, long jump, shot put, tandem cycling, etc.
Basically, the vibe I got was that the point of it was to encourage blind and visually impaired people to be more active because the obesity rates are high in that demographic. (Granted, it’s America. So, they’re high in basically every demographic… And I’m certainly not one to talk since y’all have seen that I’m working on losing weight.)
How did I end up at Goalball?
When I got the paper asking me to rank my preferences for volunteer activities, I put Goalball at the top of the list for two reasons:
1) It is a game specifically for blind and visually impaired people, and one I’d never seen (or even heard of) before. So, I wanted to experience something new.
2) It was indoors, baby! And if you ask me if I want to be indoors or outdoors, my preference is always – always – indoors. Sure, I like outdoor athletic events, but if I could run and jump and dance and everything exclusive inside for the rest of my life, I’d be all for it!
But, I will say that after having seen the day, it’s possible that the volunteers who sort of had the most interesting day and possibly got the most out of it were the assistant coaches. They got to take athletes around to the various competitions throughout the day. That seemed like it would’ve been rewarding (and interesting and ever-changing). So, if I volunteered at this event in the future, I’d maybe want to try that out. (Though it was kind of super awesome being indoors.)
Goalball itself is an awesome sport – which I will tell you all about tomorrow.